State District Judge Issues Permanent Injunction Against New Mexico Civil Guard Restricting Activities; Outlaw Or Regulate Citizen’s Militias Before Someone Gets Killed

On October 7, Second Judicial District Court Judge Elaine P. Lujan ruled to outlaw the New Mexico Civil Guard from publicly acting as a military unit without authorization or assuming the role of law enforcement by using organized force at public protests or gatherings.  Judge Lujan also ruled to ban such activity by the group’s directors, officers, agents, employees, members and any of their successor organizations and members.  Judge Elaine Lujan ruled the New Mexico Civil Guard broke the law with their actions during a protest in 2020 and must pay a fine.  Lujan’s ruling specifies the Civil Guard can no longer publicly organize and operate as a military unit. The group must also pay $8,340 to District Attorney Raúl Torrez’s office for the legal fees involved in a fight over getting court documents.

The lawsuit stems from the June 15, 2020 Old Town protest over the controversial statue of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate.   Dressed in camouflage attire and sporting assault rifles and other military-style gear, members of the New Mexico Civil Guard showed up at the Old Town protest on June 15, 2020.  They argued  their purpose was to protect public property.  One man not a member of the group was ultimately arrested for aggravated battery in connection with a protester who was shot and injured.  Though no one from the group was arrested on criminal charges, Torrez went to court to seek a civil permanent injunction against the New Mexico Civil Guard in July 2020.

Judge Lujan granted a motion for a permanent injunction filed by Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez in a lawsuit he filed July 14, 2020  alleging members of the New Mexico Civil Guard violated state law by exercising or attempting to exercise the functions of a peace officer without authority.  Torrez alleged that the New Mexico Civil Guard organized and operated as a military unit without having been called to military service by the governor as required by law. The governor has exclusive authority under the Constitution to call on the militia to keep the public peace.

In 2021, the state court rejected the militia group’s arguments that the District Attorney’s request for injunctive relief infringed on the group’s First Amendment right to free speech and association and its Second Amendment right to bear arms. Judge Lujan’s latest decision to grant the injunction requested effectively ends the case.

In her latest ruling, the judge also found the group violated a court order requiring they furnish someone from the group for a deposition. At a deposition earlier this year, Bruce Leroy Spangler Provance, one of the founders of the group, which had more than 150 members at one time, admitted to destroying all records of the group and pouring bleach on his laptop and burning it. Dressed in what appeared to be Civil War attire, Provance turned over a piece of a paperbag to attorney Baker that had a drawing of a devil in flames and a crude sexual drawing involving a figure labeled, “Your Mom.” Provance told Baker the drawings were intended “to make me smile while I had to look at you.” Then he abruptly left the deposition.

At the deposition, Bruce Leroy Spangler Provance, one of the founders of the group, which had more than 150 members at one time, admitted to destroying all records of the group and pouring bleach on his laptop and burning it. Dressed in Civil War attire, Provance turned over a piece of a paperbag to attorney Baker that had a drawing of a devil in flames and a crude sexual drawing involving a figure labeled  “Your Mom.” Provance told Baker the drawings were intended “to make me smile while I had to look at you.” Then he got up and abruptly left the deposition.   In her October  7 ruling granting the permanent injunction, Judge Lujan wrote:

“The circumstances here clearly show a flagrant, willful, bad faith, callous disregard of the Court’s order.”

The criminal defense attorney and  former Supreme Court Justice Paul Kennedy,  the attorney representing the militia group withdrew from the case and the group did not  retain a new lawyer until after a court deadline.  Torrez’s office was assisted by Albuquerque attorney Mark Baker and the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown University. Baker and the Institute worked for free over the past two years of litigation in the case. The ruling is considered the first of its kind in the country because it relied on the DA’s enforcement authority.

REACTION TO RULING

District Attorney Raúl Torrez had this to say of the ruling:

“The overarching message today is that in the state of New Mexico there is no right, fundamentally, to establish your own paramilitary unit or police unit without authorization from either the New Mexico constitution or the statutory framework. This is clearly a victory for the rule of law. … As individuals, they can be in public. As individuals, they can bear their arms. What they cannot do is engage in a coordinated effort to present a show of force in public that would threaten and intimidate anyone in the public”

[Since the filing  of  the lawsuite] this group has not appeared in an armed coordinated fashion at any public protest. And that’s exactly the outcome that we were looking for … a very clear understanding on their part, that engaging in that behavior would lead to consequences. … [This] fundamentally represents a victory for the rule of law….

We’re trying to prevent violent extremism.  … I think the lesson to any other group of individuals, regardless of their ideology and political beliefs, is they should expect the same response from this office should they engage in armed and coordinated action of the type that was undertaken by the New Mexico Civil Guard.  They will simply find themselves the subject of a lawsuit, which now has the force of having a district court judge in this district stating, unequivocally, this action does not violate the First Amendment.

This action does not violate the Second Amendment and they are strictly prohibited from either assuming unlawful paramilitary [activities] or policing. … It’s important for us to state unequivocally that there is no tolerance for [this type of] behavior, regardless of your political ideology.”

Mary McCord, an attorney with the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection had this to say:

“As we continue to see more and more brazen actions taken by vigilante and private militia groups, … including the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, it’s all the more important to use these tools to establish that not only that this conduct is a danger to the public safety but it is also not constitutionally protected. … Bottom of Form

This is a case about conduct, not the content of any type of speech or association.”

The link to quoted news source is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2541198/judge-restricts-nm-civil-guard.html

https://www.kob.com/new-mexico/district-court-judge-rules-to-restrict-new-mexico-civil-guard/#:~:text=ALBUQUERQUE%2C%20N.M.%20%E2%80%94%20A%20district%20court,operate%20as%20a%20military%20unit.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/new-mexico/articles/2022-10-18/judges-ruling-puts-restrictions-on-new-mexico-civil-guard

LITIGATION HISTORY

It was on July 14, 2020 that Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez filed a civil lawsuit to stop the New Mexico Civil Guard private militia from usurping the state’s military and law enforcement authority. The lawsuit was filed against the New Mexico Civil Guard and 14 of its members who “include some individuals associated with white supremacist and neo-Confederate organizations,” according to the civil complaint.

The lawsuit argued that the New Mexico Constitution says civilian militias can only be activated by the governor and alleges the New Mexico Civil Guard is acting like law enforcement. According to the lawsuit, the New Mexico Civil Guard are acting like law enforcement by holding training sessions, outfitting themselves with military equipment and gear, and patrolling protests armed and in uniform without any legal authority to act in any kind of law enforcement capacity.

The lawsuit alleges that membership includes people associated with white supremacist and neo-Confederate ideology. According to the lawsuit:

“[NMCG has routinely used paramilitary tactics] at protests, demonstrations, and public gatherings throughout New Mexico, providing wholly unauthorized, heavily armed, and coordinated ‘protection’ from perceived threats.”

The federal civil complaint makes specific allegations that are alarming as to the actions of the New Mexico Civil Guard. Paragraphs 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8 of the complaint are succinct and outlines the “New Mexico Civil Guard” activities and what they are all about:

“2. The so-called “New Mexico Civil Guard” (NMCG) is not an organized police force or an organized part of the military. Nor is it affiliated with or overseen by the Government. Yet this group formed for the claimed purpose of maintaining the peace and both fashions itself and pretends to function as a part of the state military. NMCG’s coordinated, armed, and uniformed presence at public events results in intimidation and creates a chilling effect on the exercise of First Amendment rights to address matters of public concern. NMCG’s attempt to operate as a private police or military unit in Bernalillo County is a per se public nuisance that must be abated to protect public safety, allow the free and open use of public forums, and minimize violent armed confrontations.

… .
5. NMCG has unlawfully exercised and intends to continue to unlawfully exercise the power to maintain public peace reserved to peace officers. NMCG’s membership is not composed of peace officers, and New Mexico law clearly provides that NMCG and its members have no civil or military authority to maintain the public peace.”
… .

“7. This is a case about paramilitary action that threatens public safety and intimidates the public’s exercise of First Amendment rights. It is not a case about gun ownership, gun possession, or self-protection. Importantly, NMCG’s paramilitary activity is not protected by the Second Amendment, and the relief that the State seeks does not run afoul of Defendants’ Second Amendment rights. … .

“8. Nor is this a case about political viewpoints. To the extent NMCG has certain white supremacist ties, their viewpoint heightens the risk of violence at certain public events because of the antipathy they hold for particular groups of protesters. But the threat posed to public safety by paramilitary actions at public demonstrations or gatherings exists regardless of the paramilitary organization’s underlying ideology. Put simply, there is no place in an ordered civil society for private armed groups that seek to impose their collective will on the people in place of the police or the military. … .”

The link to the civil complaint filed is here:

https://www.law.georgetown.edu/icap/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2020/07/State-v.-NM-Civil-Guard-Filed-Verified-Complaint.pdf

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/14/us/new-mexico-militia-group-lawsuit/index.html

THE SECOND AMENDMENT TO UNITED STATE CONSTITUTION

The United States Congress needs to take another look at the language of the he Second Amendment of the United States Constitution which reads:

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Over the years, the United State Supreme Court has expanded the Second Amendment right to right to keep and bear arms. It is referred to as the “right to bear arms” and is a right for people to possess weapons or arms for their own defense.

“In United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that the right to arms preexisted the Constitution and in that case and in Presser v. Illinois (1886) recognized that the Second Amendment protected the right from being infringed by Congress.

In United States v. Miller (1939), the Court again recognized that the right to arms is individually held and, citing the Tennessee case of Aymette v State, indicated that it protected the right to keep and bear arms that are “part of the ordinary military equipment” or the use of which could “contribute to the common defense.”

In its first opportunity to rule specifically on whose right the Second Amendment protects, District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Court ruled in the landmark case that the amendment protects an individual right “to keep and carry arms in case of confrontation,” not contingent on service in a militia. The Supreme Court also said that restrictions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, on the carrying of arms in sensitive locations, and with respect to the conditions on the sale of firearms could be permissible under the constitution.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_keep_and_bear_arms_in_the_United_States

CITIZEN MILITIAS DEFINED

“Private Militias”, more commonly known by the general public as “Citizen Militias”, are loosely defined as “armed military groups that are composed of private citizens and not recognized by the United State Government or state governments.” Upwards of half the states maintain laws regulating private militias. Generally, these laws prohibit the parading and exercising of armed private militias in public, but do not forbid the formation of private militias.

THE INSURRECTION THEORY OF SECOND AMENDMENT

“Legal and political scholars have argued that citizen militias are driven by what is known as the insurrection theory of the Second Amendment. Under this view, the Second Amendment grants an unconditional right to bear arms for self-defense and for “rebellion against a tyrannical government” defined as when a government turns oppressive and private citizens have a duty to “insurrect” or take up arms against their own government.

 The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a qualified rejection of the insurrection theory. According to the Court in Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494, 71 S. Ct. 857, 95 L. Ed. 1137 (1951):

“[W]hatever theoretical merit there may be to the argument that there is a ‘right’ to rebellion against dictatorial governments is without force where the existing structure of the government provides for peaceful and orderly change.”

 Legal scholars have interpreted this to mean that as long as the government provides for free elections and trials by jury, private citizens have no right to take up arms against the government.”

https://law.jrank.org/pages/10067/Second-Amendment-PRIVATE-MILITIAS.html

In states that do not outlaw them, private militias are limited only by the criminal laws applicable to all. In other words, if an armed private militia seeks to parade and exercise in a public area, its members will be subject to arrest on a variety of laws, including disturbing-the-peace, firearms, or even riot statutes.

Links to quoted sources are here:

https://law.jrank.org/pages/10067/Second-Amendment-PRIVATE-MILITIAS.html

https://law.jrank.org/pages/10067/Second-Amendment-PRIVATE-MILITIAS.html#ixzz6RZtSrv00

ONLY CERTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORIZED “TO KEEP THE PEACE”

The New Mexico statutory law is very clear as to the definition of a “peace officer”. The law is also very clear that only peace officers are authorized to maintain the peace and make arrests. The New Mexico Civil Guard are not law enforcement and have likely violated the laws with their actions that govern peace officers

It is § 30-1-12(C) (1963) of the New Mexico statutes that defines a peace officer as anyone who is elected or appointed and who is:

“vested by law with a duty to maintain public order or to make arrests for crime.”

https://law.justia.com/codes/new-mexico/2018/chapter-30/article-1/section-30-1-12/

Under §29-1-9 (2006) of the New Mexico statutes the duties, responsibilities and authority to lawfully maintain the peace are expressly reserved to peace officers. The statute provides:

“[N]o person shall assume or exercise the functions, powers, duties and privileges incident and belonging to the office of special deputy sheriff, marshal, policeman or other peace officer without first having received an appointment in writing from a person authorized by law to appoint special deputy sheriffs, marshals, policemen or other peace officers . . . .”

Section §30-27-2.1 of the New Mexico statutes also defines what a police officer is, what impersonating a police officer is and it illegal for anyone to impersonate a peace officer. The statute provides:

… [A] “peace officer” means any public official or public officer vested by law with a duty to maintain public order or to make arrests for crime, whether that duty extends to all crimes or is limited to specific crimes.

Impersonating a peace officer consists of:

(1) without due authority exercising or attempting to exercise the functions of a peace officer; or

(2) pretending to be a peace officer with the intent to deceive another person.
… Whoever commits impersonating a peace officer is guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon a second or subsequent conviction, the offender is guilty of a fourth-degree felony.

NEW MEXICO LAW ENFORCMENT HEAVILY REGUALTED

Much like doctors, lawyers, and teachers, law enforcement in New Mexico is heavily regulated profession. There are minimum qualification and training requirements for all state certified law enforcement. It is the Law Enforcement Training Act that creates the law-enforcement academy to provide a planned program of basic law enforcement training and in-service law enforcement training for police officers.

The academy requires minimum training requirements for certification, and requirements for continuing training “to constantly upgrade law enforcement within the state.” (NMSA 1978, §§ 29-7-1 to – 15, passed in 1969, and amended through 2020). The statute provides for suspension and revocation of law-enforcement certification based on dishonesty or fraud, the commission of a felony, or violations of law involving moral turpitude. (§ 29-7-13,) NMSA 1978. During the 2020 legislative session, the New Mexico Legislature amended the Act to require revocation of law-enforcement certification for crimes involving the use or threatened use of force. ( NMSA 1978, § 29-7-15)

NEW MEXICO MILITARY HEAVILY REGUALTED

The New Mexico Civil Guard is not military and are not authorized under the law to use military force. The New Mexico Civil Guard is likely violating the laws that govern government militias, the National Guard and the New Mexico state defense force.

Under New Mexico statutory law, entities that are authorized to use military force on the State’s behalf are collectively known as the “militia”. It is Section 20-2-1 of the New Mexico Statues that outlines 3 distinct components of the militias:

  1. “Militia” means all the military forces of this state, organized and unorganized, whether active or inactive; but excludes the regularly organized police forces of the state or its political subdivisions and excludes the civil air patrol division.
  2. “National guard” means the New Mexico army national guard and the New Mexico air national guard. The national guard is federally recognized and has a dual state and federal character and mission. When used in Chapter 20 NMSA 1978 national guard shall refer to the national guard of New Mexico unless otherwise stated.
  3. “New Mexico state defense force” means that part of the militia of the state which is not federally recognized. It is exclusively a state entity. Its standing cadre is a component of the organized militia; its ranks are filled upon order of the governor from the unorganized militia. When used in Chapter 20 NMSA 1978, state defense force shall refer to the New Mexico state defense force.

https://law.justia.com/codes/new-mexico/2013/chapter-20/article-2/section-20-2-1/

Note that 20-2-1 section A makes it clear that militia does not include organized police forces of the state, counties and municipalities all which are separate political subdivisions. Note also that the New Mexico National Guard is federally recognized and can be called or ordered into active federal service ostensibly by the United States Defense Department or order of the President. The State Defense Force is “exclusively a state entity and not federally recognized as is the National Guard. The ranks of the State Defense Force can be filled by the unorganized militia only by order of the Governor. Absent activation into the State Defense Force by the Governor, any unorganized militia lacks authority to operate as a military force.

FUNCTIONS OF NM NATIONAL GUARD AND STATE DEFENSE FORCE

It is not the function of the National Guard nor the State Defense Force to exercise the powers and duties of peace officers. It is New Mexico statutes § 20-2-3, dealing with Military Affairs, that designates the Governor as only one who has the power to call out the national guard and the militia and the statute outlines those instances.

  • 20-2-3 provides:

“A. The governor may, in case of insurrection, invasion, riot or breach of the peace or of imminent danger thereof or in case of other emergency, order into active service of the state the militia or any components or parts thereof that have not been called into federal service.  As used in this section, “emergency” includes any man-made or natural disaster causing or threatening widespread physical or economic harm that is beyond local control and requiring the resources of the state.

B. The governor may also order any member of the national guard to active state service … for the following reasons:

(1) to protect critical infrastructure in the state from a cybersecurity threat or security vulnerability;
(2) to protect an information system owned or operated by the state from a cybersecurity threat or security vulnerability;
(3) to protect information that is stored on, processed by or transiting on an information system owned or operated by the state from a cybersecurity threat or security vulnerability;  or
(4) to identify the source of a cybersecurity threat.

C. A member of the national guard called to active service pursuant to … t Subsection B … shall not have any police powers or arrest authority. … .

D. In case of any breach of the peace, tumult, riot or resistance to process of this state or imminent danger thereof, the sheriff of a county may call for aid from the governor as commander-in-chief of the national guard.  If it appears to the governor that the power of the county is insufficient to enable the sheriff to preserve the peace and protect the lives and property of the peaceful residents of the county or to overcome the resistance to process of this state, the governor shall, on application of the sheriff, order out such military force as is necessary.

E. When any portion of the militia is called out for the purpose of suppressing an unlawful or riotous assembly, the commander of the troops shall cooperate with the civil officers to the fullest extent consistent with the accomplishment of the object for which the troops were called. … .

F. When any portion of the militia is ordered into active service pursuant to this section in case of an emergency, the militia may provide those resources and services necessary to avoid or minimize economic or physical harm until a situation becomes stabilized and again under local self-support and control, including the provision, on a temporary, emergency basis, for lodging, sheltering, health care, food and any transportation or shipping necessary to protect lives or public property;  or for any other action necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare.

G. … .

https://codes.findlaw.com/nm/chapter-20-military-affairs/nm-st-sect-20-2-3.html

ORGANIZED AND UNORGANIZED MILITIAS DEFINED UNDER NEW MEXICO LAW

It is §20-2-2 of the New Mexico statutes that defines “organized and unorganized militias” as follows:

“The militia is composed of the organized and the unorganized militia.

A.The organized militia is the national guard and the standing cadre of the state defense force and such parts of the unorganized militia when and as may be activated, enrolled or enlisted into the national guard or into the state defense force.

  1. The unorganized militia is comprised of all able-bodied male citizens of the state and all other able-bodied males who have or shall have declared their intentions to become citizens of the United States and are residents of the state who are not less than 18 or more than 45 years of age, but who shall not be more than 64 years of age if they shall have earlier served in or retired from the national guard; subject to … [specific] listed exceptions … .”

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez  is commended and congratulated for suing the New Mexico Civil Guard and securing a permanent injunction against the New Mexico Civil Guard. Now that he has been elected New Mexico Attorney General, hw should seek to have the 2023 New Mexico legislature to outlaw citizen militias. The reality is, the one lawsuit only affects one civilian militia group in the State when there are likely far more.

Further, there is nothing that will prevent such militias from forming in the future nor prevent such citizen militias from other states to come to New Mexico. Citizen Militias are not regulated in the State of New Mexico. For these reasons the New Mexico legislature should enact a state law outlawing or regulating citizens militias in the state.

The State of New Mexico should enact legislation that defines with more particularity what a “citizen miltia” is and either ban them entirely or regulate all citizens militias. If New Mexico does not ban citizen militia’s outright, a Citizen’s Militia Registration Act could be enacted. Citizen militias need to be defined along similar lines of how “gangs” are defined under federal criminal law.

https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/what-gang-definitions

“citizens militia” needs to be defined as:

“An association of three or more individuals, whose members collectively identify themselves by adopting a group identity employing one or more of the following: a common name, slogan, identifying sign, symbol, flag, uniforms or military apparel or other physical identifying marking, style or color of clothing, whose purpose in part is to engage in the protection of private property and other people. A registered citizens militia may employ rules for joining and operating within the militia and members may meet on a recurring basis.”

A Citizen Militia Registration Act would require citizen militias to:

Register with the New Mexico Homeland Security Office and the New Mexico State Police.

Allow only American Citizens to be members of a citizen militia.

Require members to register their firearms with the State.

Pay yearly regulation fees and firearm certification fees and carry liability insurance.

Identify all their members by name, address and contact information.

Prohibit felons from joining.

Limit their authority and powers so as to prevent militias to engage in law enforcement activities.

Require members to pass criminal background checks and psychological testing.

Mandate training and instructions on firearm use and safety.

Require all militias and its members to agree to follow all local, state and federal laws and apply for permits to attend functions sponsored by others.

Failure to register as mandated would be a felony.

https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/what-gang-definitions

CONCLUSION

Those who take it upon themselves to associate and bear arms calling themselves “citizen militias” take it to the extreme when they attend protests fully armed in military attire proclaiming they are there to assume the responsibility law enforcement to protect people and property. Such attendance amounts to nothing but vigilantism. The state can and should act to ban citizen militias or enact legislation to regulate them before someone gets seriously hurt or killed.

Mayor Tim Keller Seeks “Transformative Changes” To Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO) To Favor Developers Despite Apartment Construction Boom; Announces “Housing Forward ABQ”;  IDO Is Abomination That Should Be Repealed  

On October 18, declaring that the city is in need of between 13,000 and 33,000 housing units to address the city’s short supply of housing, Mayor Tim Keller announced his “Housing Forward Abq” plan.  According to Keller, the city needs to work in close conjunction with the city’s residential and commercial real estate developers to solve the city’s housing shortage crisis.

In a speech before the Economic Forum, a group of prominent business leaders comprised of realtors, bankers and developers, Keller said the goal of his Housing Forward ABQ plan is for the city to bring 5,000 new housing units to the city by 2025. He is proposing to do so mostly through the redevelopment of hotels, or conversions to permanent housing,  and changing zoning codes to allow for the development of “casitas”.

According to Keller, the city has upwards of 40 new people moving into the Albuquerque area every day who are in need of housing. Keller told the Economic Forum the city was a “net winner” coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic with millennials now working jobs that are remote, but who want to live in an affordable city that has the outdoor experience comparable to places like Denver.

On January 30, 2022, the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (NMFA) initiated housing survey to identify and address housing needs across the state.  The final housing strategy analysis from the NMFA found that Bernalillo County and the Albuquerque area needs 10,153 more housing units by 2025 to account for expected population growth.

https://www.abqjournal.com/2465514/mfa-launches-resident-housing-survey.html

Keller proclaimed the city’s Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO), which lays out zoning and subdivision regulations, is now outdated although it was enacted in 2017. Keller proclaimed the IDO must be changed to allow for the expansion of housing supply in the city. Mayor Keller is calling for the conversion of hotels and commercial office space into housing and it is critical to increasing the city’s housing supply.  Keller also characterized the redevelopment of hotels and commercial property to housing units as “low-hanging fruit” for the city.  Keller said that “private-public partnerships” are critical going forward to deal with the housing shortage. Keller said the IDO has pushed developers away from addressing the housing supply in years past.

Keller said this:

“We are small enough where, theoretically, you can find a nice place to live. … But the challenge is running out of houses … Because of our growth, [the city’s housing shortage] is a crisis [because of the Integrated Development Ordinance]. …  The City of Albuquerque is terrible about this. … We add $100,000 to every unit – every unit – to convert with additional building code regulations compared to other cities. That’s why the private sector is not doing this already.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/2543570/keller-housing-supply-is-a-crisis.html

KELLER’S “HOUSING FORWARD ABQ” PLAN

Mayor Tim Keller’s  “Housing Forward ABQ” plan  is a “multifaceted initiative” where  Keller wants  to add 5,000 new housing units across the city by 2025 above and beyond what private industry normally creates each year. As it stands now, the city issues private construction permits for 1,200 to 1,500 new housing units each year. According to Keller, the city is needs as many as 13,000 to 30,000 new housing units.

To add the 5,000 new housing units across the city by 2025, Keller  is proposing that the City of Albuquerque fund and be involved with the construction of new low income housing to deal with the homeless or near homeless.    The strategy includes “motel conversions” and a zoning code “rebalance” to enhance density.  It includes allowing “casitas” which under the zoning code are formally known as “accessory dwelling” units.

Keller wants to allow “different forms of multi-unit housing types” on residential properties.   63% of the city’s housing is single-family detached homes.

According to Keller, the city will also be pushing to convert commercial office space into to residential use. The Keller administration is proposing $5 million to offset developer costs with the aim of transitioning 10 properties and creating 1,000 new housing units.  The new plan also includes “motel conversations” which is the city purchasing and turning old and existing motels into housing.

Keller argues in part that his “Housing Forward ABQ”  plan will bolster the construction workforce and  address current renter concerns.  According to a news release, the Keller Administration intends to seek to change the law to protect tenants from “predatory practices such as excessive application fees, clarifying that deposits must be refundable and capping other fees, especially in complexes that accept vouchers.”

During a news conference announcing his “Housing Forward ABQ” Keller emphasized the importance of amending the city’s Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO).  Keller had this to say:

“Right now our zoning code will never allow us to meet the housing demand in the city … If you want a place to advocate, if you want a place to change policy, if you want a place to argue, it’s all about the IDO.”

City Council President Isaac Benton has long advocated for ways to increase the housing stock, previously pushing to legalize casitas.  In 2016, the city council rejected his changed to the zoning code amid  neighborhood association opposition. Benton had  this to say:

“We’ve had these arguments over the years with some of my most progressive neighborhoods that don’t even want to have a secondary dwelling unit be allowed in their backyard or back on the alley. … You know, we’ve got to change that discussion. We have to open up for our neighbors, of all walks of life, to be able to live and work here.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/2541186/mayor-sets-goal-of-5k-housing-units-by-2025.html

KELLER’S PROPOSED “TRANSFORMATIVE” CHANGES TO THE INTEGRATED DEVLOPMENT ORDINCANCE

On November 10, the  Keller Administration released what Mayor Keller called “transformative” updates to Albuquerque’s Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO)  to carry out Keller’s “Housing Forward ABQ” plan to add 5,000 housing units to the existing housing  supply by 2025.  At Mayor Keller’s request, the legislation is being sponsored by Democrat Isaac Benton, a retired architect, and Republican Trudy Jones, a retired realtor.

The proposed changes to the IDO if enacted would be as fallow:

  1. Allow duplexes and casitas on nearly all single-family-home lots thereby increasing density in single-family home neighborhoods.
  2. Relax the rules on apartment construction.
  3. Eliminate height limits on apartment buildings in certain zones, and
  4. Loosen kitchen requirements when turning commercial buildings into housing.
  5. Reduces parking requirements for some multi-family development.

DEVIL IN THE DETAILS

The bill states the main goal is to lower the cost of construction, thus increasing the supply of multi-family dwellings. Major highlights of the legislation are as follows:

DENSITY INCEASE

The proposed  legislation will  dramatically increase options in  “R-1” residential zones.  “R-1”zoning  is  single family home lot zoning.   A whopping 68%  of all residential property zoned in the city is zoned R-1 encompassing  23% of the city’s total geographic area. The proposed legislation will allow detached casitas up to 750 feet and duplexes on lots in the zone.

According to Planning Department official Mikaela Renz-Whitmore, the new amendments to the IDO will not override existing special “casita” rules and zoning regulations already in place in areas such as Barelas, High Desert and South Broadway.

Development anywhere in the R-1 zone remains subject to rules about yard size and setbacks.  According to the legislation, it could potentially triple density on the lots and address the zone’s inherent “exclusionary effects.”

EASING RESTRICTIONS ON CONVERSIONS

Developers converting non-residential buildings to multi-family housing would not have to meet the existing kitchen standard of having a cooking stove, range or oven in each unit. They would only have to provide a microwave, hotplate or warming device.

ELIMINATING HEIGHT RESTRICTIONS

The bill eliminates height limits for mixed-use development and for multi-family housing in the highest-density residential zone. Currently, height limits in those areas vary. In the high-density residential zone today, caps range from 48 to 65 feet, though certain types of projects earn bonuses that raise the limit to 77 feet. In mixed-use zones, present limits range from 30 to 75 feet, though they could reach 111 feet with structured parking and other project bonuses.

CHANGING PARKING REQUIREMENTS

The bill will change parking requirements. It will exempt projects where at least 20% of the residential units will be affordable housing from providing off-street parking and reduces current requirements for other multi-family and mixed-use developments by 75%.  Under existing zoning requirements, a multi-family development needs 1-1.8 off-street parking spaces per dwelling unit generally based on the number of bedrooms per apartment.

“MOTEL CONVERSIONS”

Mayor Keller’s “Housing Forward ABQ” places great emphasis on “motel conversions”.

“Motel conversions” includes affordable housing where the City’s Family & Community Services Department would acquire and renovate motels to develop low-income affordable housing options. The existing layout of the motels makes it cost-prohibitive to renovate them into living units with full sized kitchens. An Integrated Development Ordinance amendment will provide an exemption for affordable housing projects funded by the city, allowing kitchens to be small, without full-sized ovens and refrigerators. It will require city social services to regularly assist residents.  The homeless or the near homeless would be offered the housing.

One area of the city that has been targeted in particular by the Keller Administration for motel conversions is “Hotel Circle” in the North East Heights. Located in the area are a number of motels in the largest shopping area in SE and NE Albuquerque near I-40. The businesses in the area include Target, Office Depot, Best Buy, Home Store, PetCo and the Mattress Store  and restaurants such as  Sadies, the Owl Café, and Applebee’s and other businesses. The city is already seeking to buy Sure Stay Hotel on Hotel Circle SE and has its eye on purchasing the abandoned and boarded up Ramada Inn for a motel conversion.

CONVERTING COMMERCAL OFFICE SPACE  INTO RESIDENTIAL DWELLINGS

Mayor Keller advocating the transformation of Commercial Office buildings into residential housing is not a new idea and has yet to really catch on.

The top floor of the  5 story commercial office building located at 2424 Louisiana North East has already been converted to upwards of 12 two bedroom, two bath, 1,240 square foot luxury apartments with monthly rental costs of $4,000 a month. The building was built in 1980, and is 77,647 square feet total with the typical floor size being 15,000 square feet.

 

The Rosenwald Building is a historic building located In Downtown Albuquerque on Central and built in 1910. It is a 42,000-square-foot three-story building and the building was added to the New Mexico State Register of Cultural Properties and the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The Rosenwald Building was renovated in 1981 and the upper floors were converted to office space. The city of Albuquerque bought the building in 2007 for $1.7 million under Mayor Chavez who left office in 2009. The building remained vacant with the city never developing it for its own use and city services. Mayor Keller declared the building surplus propertry unusable by the city and sold it without public bids.

Online records reveal a company called Townsite Qo21 LLC put in a private bid for $350,000, the so called appraised value of the building. The primary principals of Q021 are members of the Garcia family who own new car dealerships in Albuquerque and have made donations Keller’s  charitable foundation set up for the city.  Qo21 LLC  company intends to build luxury condominiums on the property. The  city sale to the purchaser was a no cash transaction with a lease back to the City  for the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) for a new  substation in a 1,100 square foot space. The initial lease would be just under 14 years with the option to extend it.

Links to news sources are here:

https://www.krqe.com/news/albuquerque-metro/apd-proposes-leasing-part-of-rosenwald-building-for-downtown-substation/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosenwald_Building

https://www.krqe.com/news/albuquerque-metro/city-moves-to-sell-historic-downtown-albuquerque-building/

EDITORIAL COMMENTARY: The housing shortage is related to economics and the development community’s inability to keep up with supply and demand and the public’s inability to purchase housing. There is also a shortage of rental properties. Keller pushing to convert commercial office space into to residential is misplaced and presumes that commercial property owners are  amenable to replacing their more lucrative commercial property into residential property which is a complete reversal from what normally happens.  It is far more common for residential property owners to seek commercial zoning changes for their properties.

SAFE OUTDOOR SPACES

Mayor Keller has advocated and in full support of the amendment to the IDO that allows for the land use known as “Safe Outdoor Spaces” to deal with the homeless crisis. “Safe Outdoor Spaces” are city sanctioned homeless encampments located in open space areas that will allow upwards of 50 homeless people to camp, require hand washing stations, toilets and showers, require a management plan, 6-foot fencing and provide for social services.

Under an adopted amendment to the IDO, Safe Outdoor Spaces are allowed in some non-residential and mixed-use zones and must be at least 330 feet from zones with low-density residential development. The restrictions do not apply to campsites operated by religious institutions. Under the IDO amendments, Safe Outdoor Spaces are allowed for up to two years with a possible two-year extension.

On September 15, the Environmental Planning Commission (EPC) voted to repeal “Safe Outdoor Spaces” from the Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO) by deleting  all references of “Safe Outdoor Spaces” effectively outlawing the conditional land use anywhere in the city. The repeal of Safe Outdoor Spaces in the IDO is still pending before city council.

EDITORIAL COMMENTARY: Safe Outdoor Spaces encampments violates the city’s “housing first” policy by not providing a form of permanent housing and with reliance on temporary housing.   Safe Outdoor Spaces are not the answer to the homeless crisis. “Safe Outdoor Spaces” will be a disaster for the city as a whole. They will destroy neighborhoods, make the city a magnet for the homeless and destroy the city’s efforts to manage the homeless through housing.  Safe Outdoor Spaces represent a very temporary place to pitch a tent, relieve oneself, bathe and sleep at night with rules that will not likely be followed. The answer is to provide the support services, including food and permanent lodging, and mental health care needed to allow the homeless to turn their lives around, become productive self-sufficient citizens and no longer dependent on relatives or others

MAYOR KELLER AND SPONSORING CITY COUNCILLORS OUTLINE POSITIONS

In requesting the sponsorship of the legislation, Keller wrote in an October  28 memo to City Council President Isaac  Benton:

“The proposed changes are intended to be transformative, which is fitting for the crisis facing our local government, thousands of families in our community, and our housing partners.”

Democrat City Councilor Isaac Benton said the proposed changes, especially the residential zone changes, will result in public outcry and objections.  Notwithstanding the public’s anticipated objections, Benton said the housing shortages the city is experiencing demands the changes be made and the public will have ample opportunity to comment. Benton said this:

“These are things that have been discussed over the years with regard to housing affordability, so it’s not new. … A lot of cities are doing this — just really taking a look at their low-density zoning and seeing if there are any opportunities there for more density.”

Republican City Councilor Trudy Jones, a cosponsor of the changes to the IDO, said she fully expects the proposals to generate backlash. Notwithstanding, Jones said the city needs to set the stage for more housing development and density in certain places or risk losing new workers and younger generations. Jones said density will promote housing affordability and the city may not want “sprawl” but it should welcome growth and she said this:

“Some of us want to keep our families here, want to keep our children and grandchildren here. … We can’t stay the little town that we were forever.”

The link to quoted news sources is here

https://www.abqjournal.com/2548502/keller-seeks-transformative-changes-to-zoning-code.html

ALBUQUERQUE NEW APARTMENT CONSTRUCTION BOOMING

In the Albuquerque metro area, new permits for apartment building construction have spiked dramatically. Building permits for a total of 4,021 new housing units were issued in the metro area in 2021, 35.1% of which are for units in buildings with five units or more.  In Albuquerque, about 2,000 units across 12 properties are  already under construction, with an additional 2,485 units planned across 16 properties and 5,143 prospective units. Five years ago only 20.3% of all permits for new housing units were for buildings with at least five units. The 14.8% point change for new apartment construction from 2016 to 2021 ranks as the 10th largest increase among all U.S. metro areas.

Alan LeSeck, Apartment Association of New Mexico executive director, told the Albuquerque Journal the current market is “very hot,” due partially to the lack of apartment development dating back to before the pandemic.  Since 2013, and prior to 2020, LaSeck said Albuquerque was averaging about 500 new units a year, below what the city needed to accommodate new residents.  LaSeck said that, for every 10,000 new residents, there needs to be about 3,400 apartments since about 34% of people typically rent.  According to RentCafe, in Albuquerque, the average apartment is rented for $1,170 per month.

According to the February Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors report, home prices in Albuquerque continue to reach record highs, with the current median home value sitting at $315,000, up by 18.9% compared to a year prior. This has resulted in prospective homeowners being pushed out of the housing market, resulting in a demand for more rental and apartment unit construction. The increase in home prices has meant that some purchasers are simply  priced out of the market.  There are those who have sold their homes only to be unable to purchase another home due to increasing costs or a lack of availability. These former and would-be home-owners are then pushed into the rental market, increasing the occupancy rate and affecting rents.

https://www.abqjournal.com/2466109/report-abq-home-prices-jump-more-than-17-in-2021.html

Titan Development is among the leaders of multi-family development. Titan is currently working on 3 multi-family developments totaling more than 500 units. It is also working on the largest multi-family development in construction with the 281-unit Allaso High Desert apartments at San Antonio and Tennyson Street. Some of Titan’s new developments, such as the Allaso Vineyards at Holly and Ventura, target an aging demographic that may be looking for a new place to live with less maintenance than a single family home.

Among the larger developments is Overture Andalucia, a new multi-family complex on Albuquerque’s West Side aimed at adults 55 and older. The 171-unit complex, owned by the property investment, development and management company Greystar,  was  set to have units ready by  fall.

Uptown has become one of the economic and entertainment centers of the city. It has grown from 2 modest malls of Coronado and Windrock shopping centers  into a financial district  with the highest concentration of retail establishments in the state. An abundance of shopping and dining venues characterize the area as  nucleus of commerce. In response to  people looking for an urban experience without transportation headaches, two major apartment projects are fully underway in the uptown area.

Goodman Realty is  moving forward with construction on multi-family housing  for the first time since the ’80s.  Goodman Realty is planning to build Lofts at Winrock in Albuquerque’s Uptown area. Although referred to as the “Lofts” project, renderings show developers are  planning to call the apartment development “The Pine Needle.” Three buildings comprise the entire development, one of which will be used for townhomes. Plans show the apartment complex will have four floors of upscale apartments. At least one of the buildings will have a large courtyard.

https://www.krqe.com/news/albuquerque-metro/winrock-finalizing-plans-for-200-unit-high-end-apartment-complex/

The increased demand for apartments has led Goodman Realty  to look at other areas to pursue multi-family development, such as near the Journal Center. Scott Goodman said multi-family housing could be particularly attractive to developers since it is seen as a less risky investment and it is also easier to finance. More development, he said, could also lead to lower rental costs and help with the affordability problem. Goodman put it this way:

“We’re looking at doing more apartments.  … Apartment rents have really skyrocketed, apartment construction costs have really skyrocketed, and I think that the supply of apartments is really going down, and that’s part of the reason you’re seeing what we’re seeing … and the city needs more apartments. … The more apartments we have, the more supply we have, the more affordable it should be.”

The 243 unit, six story Markana apartment complex is now under construction and is  scheduled to be completed in  2023. It is located at 6500 Americas Pky, NE, South of Coronado shopping center, West of the Marriott and immediately North of the Hilton Garden Inn and West of the  Bucca De Beppo restaurant. It will have studio apartments and 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments ranging from 589 square feet to 1,226 square feet.

https://www.apartments.com/markana-uptown-albuquerque-nm/8n8z552/

Construction of the Element by Weston in the uptown area  merits mentioning.  It is a 120-room, 86,335-square-foot hotel  that is currently under construction located at 2430 Louisiana Blvd. NE, directly East of Coronado Shopping Center.

The links to quoted news sources are here:

https://www.thecentersquare.com/new_mexico/new-apartment-construction-is-booming-in-albuquerque-nm/article_4598bdff-d904-5125-b1c6-0d798a2f476f.html

https://www.abqjournal.com/2485325/builders-prep-for-apartment-building-boom-ex-realty-company-notes.html

REVISTING THE INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE

It was in 2015 that former Mayor Richard Berry during his second term started the rewrite process of the city’s comprehensive zoning code and comprehensive plan to rewrite the city’s entire zoning code. It was initially referred to as the  ABC-Z comprehensive plan and later renamed the Integrated Development Ordinance (ID0) once it was passed.  In 2015, there were sixty (60) sector development plans which governed new development in specific neighborhoods. Forty (40) of the development plans had their own “distinct zoning guidelines” that were designed to protect many historical areas of the city.

Former Mayor Richard Berry said the adoption of comprehensive plan was a much-needed rewrite of a patchwork of decades-old development guidelines that held the city back from development and improvement.  The enactment of the comprehensive plan was a major priority of Berry before he left office on December 1, 2017. The Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and the construction and development community, including the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP), pulled all stops to get the plan adopted before the October 3, 2017 municipal election.  IDO was enacted with the support of Democrats and Republicans on the City Council despite opposition from the neighborhood interests and associations.

The stated mission of the re write of the comprehensive plan was to bring “clarity and predictability” to the development regulations and to attract more “private sector investment”. The city’s web site on the plan rewrite claimed the key goals include “improve protection for the city’s established neighborhoods and respond to longstanding water and traffic challenges by promoting more sustainable development”. Economic development and job creation was argued as a benefit to rewriting the Comprehensive Plan.

Under the enacted Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO) the number of zones went from 250 to fewer than 20, which by any measure was dramatic. Using the words “promoting more sustainable development” means developers want to get their hands-on older neighborhoods and develop them as they see fit with little or no regulation at the lowest  possible cost to make a profit. The IDO also granted wide range authority to the Planning Department to review and unilaterally approve development applications without public input.

https://publicpolicy.wharton.upenn.edu/live/news/1581-impacts-of-gentrification-a-policy-primer/for-students/blog/news.php

PUBLIC CUT OUT OF THE PROCESS

The enacted Integrated Development Ordinance has provisions to allow the City Council to adopt major amendments  and make major changes to it. The IDO blatantly removes the public from the development review process, and it was the Planning Department’s clear intent to do so when it drafted the IDO.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Albuquerque’s rental occupancy rate is at about 95.8%,  just above the recommended healthy occupancy rate of 95%.  Notwithstanding, apartment construction in Albuquerque is undergoing a major boom with  2021 and 2022  turning out to be record-breaking years for apartment construction.

Mayor Tim Keller and Democrat City Councilor Isaac Benton and Republican Trudy Jones ignore that new apartment construction is booming in Albuquerque and declare a housing crisis.  The reason for that is all 3 want the city to invest millions in low-income housing rather than letting the market and private sector deal with the problem. All 3 want to allow “casitas”  to be built on existing, built out residential  areas of the city, including historical areas.  All 3 want to allow 18  tent encampments known as  Safe Out Door Spaces in the city for the homeless. All 3 want motel conversions to the extent that the city will purchase existing motels and convert them into permanent low income housing essentially going into the motel business to address the homeless crisis.

KELLER’S BIPARTISAN WATER CARRIERS     

It should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone, especially established neighborhood associations for historic areas of the city like Barelas and the South Broadway and Martineztown area, that Democrat Isaac Benton and Republican Trudy Jones are carrying the water for Keller and are the sponsors of Keller’s Housing Forward ABQ plan legislation amending the IDO.  Both city councilors had a distain for the  previous comprehensive zoning code that was replaced by the IDO.   Both voted for the enactment of the IDO in 2017.  Both Benton and Jones have voted for and are in support of “motel conversions” and “Safe Outdoor Spaces”.

Democrat Benton is a retired architect and  Republican Jones is a retired real estate agent and both have contempt  for many of the sector development plans that placed limitations on developers, especially  in historical areas of the city.

Benton for years has advocated for major changes to ease up on restrictions on secondary dwelling unit in backyards over the objections of his own progressive constituents and the historical areas of the city he represents.  Benton admitted it when he said this:

“We’ve had these arguments over the years with some of my most progressive neighborhoods that don’t even want to have a secondary dwelling unit be allowed in their backyard or back on the alley. … You know, we’ve got to change that discussion. We have to open up for our neighbors, of all walks of life, to be able to live and work here.”

Republican Jones throughout her 16 years on the city council has always been considered in the pockets of the real estate and the development communities over the interests of property owners and neighborhoods. Over the years, she has received literally thousands of dollars in contributions from both the real estate industry and the development industry each time she has run for city council.  She has never gone the “public finance” route and has always privately financed her city council campaigns.  She was also the sponsor of the amendment to the IDO that removed the mandatory requirement for public input for special uses giving more authority to the planning department.

KELLER THE REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER

The IDO was enacted a mere few weeks before Tim Keller was  elected Mayor the first time. When then New Mexico Auditor Tim Keller was running for Mayor he had nothing to say publicly about the IDO and gave no position on it.  He did proclaim he was the most uniquely qualified to be Mayor despite lacking any experience in municipal affairs and city zoning.   The likely reason for not taking a position on the IDO was his sure ignorance of municipal land use planning and zoning matters, something he was never exposed to in his career as a State Senator and State Auditor.

Five years later, Keller as if he has had an some sort of  epiphany and education, proclaims the IDO is outdated. It’s very difficult, if not outright laughable, to take Mayor Tim Keller serious when he proclaimed the city’s Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO), which lays out highly complicated zoning and subdivision regulations, as being outdated given that it was enacted in 2017 by the city council on an 8-1 vote.

What is really happening with Mayor Tim Keller’s  “transformative changes” to  the Integrated Development Ordinance and his  “Housing Forward Abq” plan is that Keller is catering to the development community as he  pretends  to be an expert in the field of housing development and zoning matters.  Keller is relying on the city’s housing crisis and homeless crisis to seek further changes to the city’s zoning code to help the development community and using city funding to do it.

IDO IS AN ABOMINATION THAT SHOULD BE REPEALED

Simply put, the IDO is and has always been an abomination that favors developers and the city’s construction industry. The 2017 rewrite was a rush job.  It took a mere 2 years to rewrite the entire zoning code  and it emerged as the Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO).  It was in late 2017, just a few weeks before the municipal election and the election of Mayor Tim Keller, that  the City Council  rushed to vote for the final adoption of the IDO comprehensive plan on an 8-1 vote.  Outgoing City Councilor Republican Dan Lewis who lost the race for Mayor Tim Keller voted on the IDO refusing to allow the new council take up the IDO.

Critics of the Integrated Development Ordinance said it lacked public discussion and representation from a number of minority voices and minority communities.  They argued that the IDO should be adopted after the 2017 municipal election, but they were ignored by the City Council.

There is no doubt that IDO is now having a long-term impact on the cities older neighborhoods and favors developers. The intent from day one of the Integrated Development Ordinance was the “gutting” of long-standing sector development plans by the development community to repeal those sector development plans designed to protect neighborhoods and their character. The critics of the IDO argued that it made “gentrification” city policy giving developers free reign to do what they wanted and to do it without sufficient oversight.

The City’s development community got all it wanted when the IDO  was first enacted which was to gut as many sector development plans as possible and remove zoning restrictions that protected neighborhoods. The enacted Integrated Development Ordinance has provisions to allow the City Council to adopt major amendments  and make major changes to it. The IDO blatantly removes the public from the development review process, and it was the Planning Department’s clear intent to do so when it drafted the IDO.

Since  the enactment of the Integrated Development Ordinance, at least 250 amendments have been past by the City Council.  Now that the development community has gotten what it wants, we have a Mayor and at least 2  city councilors who think they can salvage the unworkable Integrated Development Ordinance by amending it repeatedly when repeal is likely in  order.

CONCLUSION

Once Keller’s “Housing Forward Abq” plan  is introduced, it must go through the mandated process and accompany the city’s annual Integrated Development Ordinance updates. The process will take months and includes public meetings with the Environmental Planning Commission (EPC), the city council’s Land Use Planning & Zoning committee and then a vote by the full city council. Neighborhood Associations and historical areas of the city need to voice their concerns loud and clear to both the Mayor and the City Council, but its not at all likely they will listen and they will  do whatever they damn well feel like doing over voter objections.

Federal Monitor Files 16th  Report On APD Compliance Levels Under The Court Approve Settlement Agreement

On   Federal Court Appointed Independent Monitor James Ginger filed his 16th Report on the Compliance Levels of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and the City of Albuquerque with Requirements of the Court-Approved Settlement Agreement. The 16th Federal Monitors report is a 332 page report that covers the  the 16th reporting period  covers the time period of February 1, 2022, through July 31, 2022.The link to review the entire 16th Federal Monitors report is here:

https://www.cabq.gov/police/documents/959-221109-imr-16.pdf

This blog article reports on the findings and is a summary of the 16th Federal Monitors Report. The article is not to be considered exhaustive but is an outline of  the major accomplishments of APD over the reporting period.

COMPLIANCE LEVELS

On November 14, 2014, the City of Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Police Department and the United State Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a stipulated Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). The Court Approved Settlement Agreement mandates 271 police reforms, the appointment of a Federal Monitor and the filing of Independent Monitor’s reports (IMRs). There are 276 paragraphs in 10 sections within the CASA with measurable requirements that the monitor reports on.

The link to the 118-page CASA is here:

https://documents.cabq.gov/justice-department/settlement-agreement.pdf

Under the terms and conditions of the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA), once APD achieves a 95% compliance rate in the 3 identified compliance levels and maintains it for 2 consecutive years, the case can be dismissed. Originally, APD was to have come into compliance within 4 years and the case was to be dismissed in 2020.

The 3 compliance levels can be explained as follows:

PRIMARY COMPLIANCE

Primary compliance is the “policy” part of compliance. To attain primary compliance, APD must have in place operational policies and procedures designed to guide officers, supervisors and managers in the performance of the tasks outlined in the CASA. As a matter of course, the policies must be reflective of the requirements of the CASA; must comply with national standards for effective policing policy; and must demonstrate trainable and evaluable policy components.

SECONDARY COMPLIANCE

Secondary compliance is attained by implementing supervisory, managerial and executive practices designed to and be effective in implementing the policy as written, e.g., sergeants routinely enforce the policies among field personnel and are held accountable by managerial and executive levels of the department for doing so. By definition, there should be operational artifacts such as reports, disciplinary records, remands to retraining, follow-up, and even revisions to policies if necessary, indicating that the policies developed in the first stage of compliance are known to, followed by, and important to supervisory and managerial levels of the department.

OPERATIONAL COMPLIANCE

Operational compliance is attained at the point that the adherence to policies is apparent in the day-to-day operation of the agency e.g., line personnel are routinely held accountable for compliance, not by the monitoring staff, but by their sergeants, and sergeants are routinely held accountable for compliance by their lieutenants and command staff. In other words, the APD “owns” and enforces its policies.

16th  FEDERAL MONITOR’S REPORT COMPLIANCE LEVELS

The Federal Monitor reported that as of the end of the IMR-16 reporting period, APD’s compliance levels are as follows:

Primary Compliance: 100% (No change)
Secondary Compliance: 99% (No change)
Operational Compliance: 80%. (10% increase from 70%)

 15th FEDERAL MONITOR’S REPORT COMPLIANCE LEVELS

 On May 11, 2022, Federal Court Appointed Independent Monitor filed his 15th Report on the Compliance Levels.  The 15th Federal Monitors report covers the 6 month time frame of August, 2021 to January, 2022. The link to review the entire report is here:

https://www.cabq.gov/police/documents/910-220511-imr-15.pdf

APD’s compliance levels in  the IMR-15 Federal Monitor’s report were as follows:

Primary Compliance: 100%
Secondary Compliance: 99%
Operational Compliance: 70%.

The 15th Federal Monitors report was  a dramatic reversal from the past 3 monitor reports that were highly critical of the Keller Administration and the Albuquerque Police Department.

14th FEDERAL MONITOR’S REPORT COMPLIANCE LEVELS

On November 12, 2021, the Federal Monitor reported in the Federal Monitors IMR-14 report filed  the 3 compliance levels  as follows:

Primary Compliance: 100 %; (No change from before)
Secondary Compliance: 82 %; (No change from before)
Operational Compliance: 62 % (An increase 3% points from before)

FEDERAL MONITORS IMR-16 REPORT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

During the IMR-16 reporting period, APD has held steady in its overall compliance ratings, with Primary compliance at 100% and Secondary compliance levels at 99%. This means that APD’s policy development and dissemination processes were found to be CASA-congruent, and that training development and execution were found to be CASA-congruent in almost all cases reviewed by the monitoring team.

… [T] he monitoring team … found it … not necessary to comment extensively on policy drafts submitted by APD for review during IMR-16. Policies submitted for review were generally well written, CASA-compliant, and industry-standard in terms of the actions required by APD personnel in the field.

Training processes continue to be a bright spot at APD. The new cadre of external hires continues to develop training plans, documentation, and delivery systems that comply with industry standards. Communications between Academy leadership and the monitoring team continues to be issue-oriented and focused on modalities to improve training product and achieve compliance with training-related paragraphs.

 During the 16th reporting period, it was  noted that APD’s recruiting unit and the Behavioral Science Section continued the high-quality work the monitor has noted in past monitor’s reports.

 The primary Force Review Board (FRB) reviewed 43% more cases during the IMR-16 reporting period than in the previous period. APD also implemented a secondary FRB during this period.  These changes bode well for APD’s efforts to hear all use of force cases in a timely manner.

 IAPS investigators thoroughly investigated and documented and reached appropriate findings in all cases this reporting period. The mentoring, coaching, and oversight provided to APD by External Force Investigation Team  continue to reflect industry-standard practices and produce industry-standard results in numerous APD force investigations and assessments.

 Our reviews of fourteen IAFD cases this reporting period show that these investigations were highly congruent with industry standards. Timeliness of internal investigations was also significantly improved during the 16th reporting period. This reflects improved oversight by IAFD command.

 The use of force cases assessed by the monitoring team this reporting period (all of which benefited from on-scene coaching and oversight by EFIT) continue to show improvement. Further, operational compliance—the degree to which operations in the field comply with the requirements of the CASA—is now at 80%  compliance. This is a 10%  point increase in operational compliance during the IMR-16 reporting period, the highest level of operational compliance yet achieved by APD.

 This progress is significant, but we remind APD that the compliance requirement is 95 percent or higher. The efforts we have noted during this reporting period need to be exhibited consistently if APD is to meet the 95%  compliance levels needed for full compliance with the requirements of the CASA.

 Further, we note that the work completed by IAFD and EFIT during this reporting period shows that it is possible to meet and exceed the 95%  compliance level for use of force investigations at APD. Doing so requires fully focused processes at the supervisory, command, review, documentation, and adjudication levels at APD.

 It was noted  that eventually EFIT will transfer oversight of force responsibilities to APD. This transfer will test APD’s ability to sustain the obvious progress that is being made with day-to-day external oversight.

The following [three] areas will need careful attention as APD works toward long-term sustainability of the CASA reforms achieved:

 1.Ensuring that quality investigations are not features that exist only while EFIT is present.

 2. Staffing IAFD and sustaining the core competencies of investigators will be a challenge for APD. Growing detective and investigator competencies requires the support of commanders and time to acclimate personnel experiences dealing with officers and the complexity some cases bring. Stabilizing turnover in IAFD’s supervisory ranks and investigative staff in the long term will be a key factor for success.

 3.  APD should consider utilizing the process narrative, which was put into place to establish standards and a system by which all use of force investigations will be assessed for quality, in the future. APD significantly reduced failure rates among investigations submitted through the chain of command during this monitoring period.

 4. Since failure rates are directly related to the quality of supervision in IAFD, they can be reasonably viewed as a predictor of IAFD’s ability (or inability) to achieve CASA compliance after EFIT is no longer internally monitoring IAFD’s quality of work. The assignment of a new commander at IAFD during this monitoring period had a significant positive impact on failure rates.

 FEDERAL MONITORS IMR-16 REPORT OF SUMMARY OF SUCCESSES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS

“Successes for IMR-16 reporting period are both substantial and consequential.”

SUCCESSES REPORTED

During the reporting period, [the following successes were found]:

 1. APD implemented policy, training, and practice changes that resulted in a 10% point increase in operational compliance, from 70% in IMR 15 to 80% in IMR 16.

 2. Recruiting and BSS continued their positive arc of change, and solidified new policy and practice that has aided compliance efforts;

 3.  IAPS has continued to improve the quality and scope of its investigations;

 4.  APD has increased substantially the number of ECIT certified officers responding to mental health-related calls for police service;

 5. SOD and SID continue to perform their day-to-day tasks in a manner that is highly congruent with the requirements of the CASA;

 6. Albuquerque’s Citizen Policing Councils have matured to the point that they are among the best in the nation; and

 7. Community outreach efforts at APD have taken on a new level of engagement. The monitoring team is acutely aware of the effort APD undertook to generate these positive findings.

 We also detect a substantial shift in mind-set and vision at the executive and command levels at APD related to the oversight of use of force and infield delivery of policing services.

 APD remained consistent with its [Primary Complianc at 100% and Secondary Compliance 99%.] respectively.

 During this reporting period, APD’s Operational compliance increased by 9%.

REMAINING CHALLENGES

APD’s Operational compliance is now at 80%. Current Challenges  remain to be addressed if APD is to reach full compliance with the requirements of the CASA. These [challenges]  include:

 1. Transitioning EFIT oversight responsibilities regarding use of force investigations back to APD, which will test APD’s ability to sustain the obvious progress that is being made with the day-to-day external oversight provided by EFIT;

2. Ensuring investigative quality are not features that exist only while EFIT is present;

 3. Expanding IAFD detectives’ and investigators’ competencies requires the support of commanders and allowing time to accumulate personal experiences dealing with officers and the complexity some cases bring. Stabilizing turnover in IAFD’s supervisory ranks and investigative staff in the long term will be a key factor for success;

 4. The process narrative was put into place to establish standards and a system by which all use of force investigations will be assessed for adequacy. During this monitoring period, APD significantly reduced failure rates among investigations that were submitted through the chain of command.

 Since reductions in failure rates are attributable to the quality of training and supervision in IAFD, they can be reasonably viewed as a predictor of IAFD’s ability (or inability) to maintain CASA compliance after EFIT is no longer monitoring IAFD’s quality of work. The assignment of a new commander at IAFD during this monitoring period had a significant positive impact of reducing failure rates. Still, APD must ensure that the improvements are not dependent on the ability of a single commander and are instead a culturally ingrained standard of excellence;

 5. Adequately staffing IAFD and sustaining the core competencies of investigators will be a challenge for APD. Growing detective and investigator competencies require the support of informed commanders and supervisors, as well as accumulating personal experiences dealing with officers and the complexity of some IAFD cases;

 6. Stabilizing turnover in IAFD’s supervisory ranks and investigative staff in the long term will be a key factor for continued success.

 7. Building “bridging” systems to ensure that lessons learned during EFIT processes are internalized, monitored, and protected from deterioration is critical to overall success.

8. Carefully monitoring and assessing IAFD staffing viz a viz workload and timeline requirements will be critical as APD begins to assume responsibilities currently being met by EFIT, to provide careful, consistent, and persistent assessment of uses of force by the monitoring team;

 9. Developing processes to monitor timeliness and thoroughness of investigations will be critical as IAFD steps into the monitor’s role of independently assessing compliance with the requirements of the CASA and the current expected standards of nationally accepted processes for force investigations.

 10. Improving detective and investigator competencies requires the support of commanders and time to accumulate personal experiences dealing with officers and the complexity that some cases bring. Stabilizing turnover in IAFD’s supervisory ranks and investigative staff in the long term will be a key factor for success.

11. It is critical that APD establish the ability to assess and adapt EFIT’s Process Narrative, which was put into place to establish standards and a system by which all use of force investigations are assessed. During this monitoring period, APD significantly reduced failure rates among investigations that were submitted through the chain of command.

 Since the drop of those failure rates are directly attributable to the quality of supervision in IAFD, they can be reasonably viewed as a predictor of IAFD’s ability (or inability) to achieve CASA compliance after EFIT is no longer internally monitoring IAFD’s quality of work.

 The assignment of a new commander within IAFD during this monitoring period had a significant positive impact on reduced failure rates. Nonetheless, APD must ensure that the improvements are not dependent on the ability of a single commander and are instead a culturally ingrained standard of excellence, supported by good policy, well-trained personnel, and strong supervisory and management oversight.

 12 .  Establishing an internal assessment and problem-solving practice to identify, assess, and remediate systems issues leading to failures to comply with the process narrative for internal investigations should be a high-priority goal of APD leadership.

 13. Revising APD’s annual use of force reporting processes should be implemented to reflect correct information once EFIT-2 has completed the investigation of APD’s backlogged use of force cases. IAPS should more closely train and supervise area command investigations to ensure completeness and accuracy.

 14. IAPS should more closely train and supervise area command investigations to ensure completeness and accuracy.

 15.  Assessing critical “practice points” that involve CPOA’s contribution to compliance practices and building reliable bridges to interlink CPOA findings into APD policy, training, supervision, command oversight, and leadership processes will be critical moving forward. The careful reader will note that most of the challenges outlined above fall under the rubric of practice-based leadership.

 While “technicians” at APD may be partially responsible for the successes noted above, it will be incumbent on leadership to conceptualize and foster the vision and will to modify, plan, and operationalize responses to the remaining challenges noted above.

 Further, for processes that are deemed effective, APD should ensure their long-term use in the department’s pursuit of compliance with the CASA. APD’s “to do” list, at this point in time is substantial, but the monitoring team notes that the successes outlined above should facilitate understanding and experience that in turn should stimulate effective management of the remaining tasks to be completed.

In the final analysis it will be the role of APD senior executives to ensure that the progress achieved during the 16th reporting period is made part of the department’s continuing efforts.

 EFIT USE OF FORCE INVESTIGATIONS 

 On February 26, 2021, the  External Force Investigation Team (EFIT) was created by stipulated order. The EFIT commenced operations on July 16, 2021.   The EFIT was created when the Federal Monitor found that APD intentionally did not investigate 667 of use of force cases. The EFIT is an outside team of experts that investigates APD officer involved “Use of Force” cases and that is tasked with dealing with the backlog of 667 use of force cases.

EFIT is on call 24/7 and must respond to all call outs within one hour of notification. All Use of Force (“UOF”) investigations must be completed within 60 days with an additional 30-day supervisory review period for a total of 90 days from start to finish.  EFIT must conduct joint investigations with APD Internal Affairs Force Division (“IAFD”) of all Level 2 and Level 3 Use of Force incidents.   The joint investigations include all Tactical Deployments where Use of Force is utilized. EFIT must also assist APD with training concerning the use of force.

The Federal Monitor’s 16th Independent Monitor’s report reported  on the work and progress made by the EFIT as follows:

 “CASA requirements stipulate that the use and investigation of force shall comply with applicable laws and comport to best practices. Central to these investigations shall be a determination of each involved officer’s conduct to determine if the conduct was legally justified and compliant with APD policy. Field supervisors make initial assessments and classifications to determine the appropriate type of response to instances where officers use force. Level 1 uses of force are handled by supervisors in the Field Services Bureau or other applicable units. The Internal Affairs Force Division (IAFD) responds for investigatory responsibilities associated with all Levels 2 and 3 uses of force.”

 RESULTS REPORTED

 “During IMR-16 [involving] data current through August 2022, APD recorded a combined 212 Level 2 and Level 3 use of force cases: the same number of cases as in IMR-15. This continues to reflect a significant reduction in the more serious levels of use of force observed in previous monitoring periods.

 During this monitoring period, APD and the External Force Investigation Team (EFIT) have maintained their reversal of the previous problematic long-term trend in completing Level 2 and 3 use of force cases. Internal Affairs Force Division (IAFD), working alongside EFIT, completed 151 Level 2 cases, with 148 of the cases being completed within 90 days of the use of force. The three cases not completed within 90 days were misclassified initially by Field Service Bureau personnel, which contributed to the cases not being completed within 90 days of the use of force.  …

 As noted later in this monitor’s report, evidence reveals that problematic productivity levels at the Internal Affairs Force Divisi ( IAFD) from earlier monitoring periods have reversed and are headed in the right direction.  …  [T]his reversal was achieved with external assistance provided by EFIT. Nonetheless, the progress made and initially reported during IMR-15 has been maintained during this monitoring period.

 We urge APD to consider this issue, to “think ahead” to the processes that need to be internalized, and to identify the training and oversight necessary to facilitate those processes in preparation for the day when the EFIT engagement is terminated, and the full burden of processing force investigation cases falls once again on APD. This is a critical issue for APD, requiring careful consideration, decision-making, and documentation, and more likely than not new policy guidance, training, supervision, and executive oversight.”

 2% OF 660 BACKLOG CASES CLOSED

 In the IMR-14 reporting period, the monitoring team noted the growth of backlogged Level 2 and Level 35 cases and the lack of progress in completing those cases. During this monitoring period, the Stipulated Order approved by the Court in 2021 was amended to authorize a secondary EFIT team (EFIT-2) to address these backlogged Level 2 and Level 3 cases6. At the close of the monitoring period, approximately 2%  of the backlogged cases had been closed. No new cases were added to the list of backlogged cases during the IMR16 reporting period.

 …  [As]  of the close of this reporting period, EFIT-2 had been operating for less than two months. Since APD changed how it records requests for misconduct investigations associated with use of force reviews and investigations, more details are available for internal analysis. … [S]ince potential policy violations observed during use of  force investigations are being reported to IAPS at a higher rate, this aggregate data provides a rich resource for APD to analyze in order to determine alleged misconduct trends.

  Any training conducted by the Academy or other entity within APD should, as contextually appropriate for the course being designed, examine these data as part of its needs assessment phase of curriculum development. Also, the early identification and reporting of misconduct during force investigations reduces the compounded administrative burden that can fall on APD as those cases move through the chain of command.

 [The] City [has]  made a significant investment in the EFIT. The result has demonstrated that the terms of the CASA can be achieved with investigative effort and close oversight by supervisors and commanders. The additional benefit is that the Force Review Board (FRB) has better confidence in cases it is reviewing, and the findings investigators make. Consequently, FRB members can move more quickly during their case reviews, and meetings are more streamlined.

 In this reporting period, evidence reveals that APD continued to struggle with completing supervisory force reviews within 72 hours. Additionally, APD supervisory and command personnel still struggle to complete their reviews of Level 1 use of force reviews within the allotted 30-day time period. However, APD had better success during this monitoring period.  

 In IMR-16, the amount of time it took APD to complete the 83 Level 1 use of force cases APD opened for supervisory review ranged between 13 and 87 days. Ten of the cases completed exceeded 30 days, with four of these cases exceeding 80 days. Seventy of the 83 cases were completed within 30 days, although four of these 70 cases were at the 30-day mark.

 The monitoring team conducted a review of Level 1 uses of force drawn from samples taken throughout the reporting period. We document our reviews of those cases and statistical findings regarding Level 1 uses of force in greater detail in Paragraphs 41-59.

 The monitoring team continues to provide extensive technical assistance and feedback to APD concerning the problems associated with their IA processes. This technical assistance, continuously provided since the onset of monitoring, increased in January 2020 and has continued throughout the writing of this report. This feedback provided by the monitoring team encompassed briefings on best practices in internal affairs operations. It provided recommendations for improving existing internal processes to improve the lack of timeliness of APD’s use of force investigations and to address the disparity in discipline that exists by deferring.

 Pages 7, 8, 9 of IMR-16

 COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

After 8 years of implementing the mandating DOJ reforms, and millions spent on training, APD appears to have finally turned the corner on implementing the 271 mandated reforms under the CASA. APD is commended for attaining a 100% Primary Compliance rate,  a 99% Secondary Compliance rate and increasing Operational Compliance to 80%, a 10% increase. Notwithstanding, APD is still struggling mightily with Operational Compliance.  Operational compliance is the single most important compliance level of all 3 and it is where the rubber hits the road with respect to the reforms.

Operational compliance is the hardest to attain. Operational compliance is attained at the point that the adherence to policies is apparent in the day-to-day operation of the agency. It is achieved when line personnel are routinely held accountable for compliance by their sergeants, and sergeants are routinely held accountable for compliance by their lieutenants and command staff. In other words, the APD “owns” and enforces its policies. Operational Compliance still has to be achieved at a 95% level, as do the other two, and sustained for 2 years before the case can be dismissed.

One of the biggest complaints of all DOJ cases in the country to deal with police misconduct excessive use of force cases is that they tend to go “on and on and on”  for years with no end on sight. When the CASA was first agreed to in 2014, it was agreed that all the reforms under the CASA would be fully implemented within 4 years. Simply put, the city is going on a full 8 years with millions spent. Once the city achieves the 95% compliance rate in all 3 categories, the city should move to negotiate the dismissal of  the case and argue that  the spirit and intent of the CASA has been achieved.

Democrats Retain Control Of US Senate; Democrats Senator Mark Kelly Wins Arizona, Catherine Cortez Masto Wins Nevada; House Inches Closer to Republican Control; Trump To Announce Third Run For President On November 15; “Trumpty Dumpty” Biggest Loser On November 8 As Handpicked Election Deniers Lose

Five full days after the November 8, 2022 mid term elections, vote counting continues throughout the country with many elections still not called and the balance of power only decided in the United Stated Senate.  Vote counts continue in the United States House of Representative races and a few Governor races.

DEMOCRATS RETAIN CONTROL OF US SENATE

Democrats have retained control of the United States Senate and will hold 50 Senate seats to the Republican  49 seats with the 1  Georgia Senate race forced into a run off on December 6. The Democratic party will retain control of the Senate, no matter how next month’s Georgia runoff plays out, by virtue of vice-president Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.

On November 12, CNN reported that Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, Americas first Latina Senator,  was elected to her second term as United States Senator from Nevada defeating Republican Adam Laxalt.   Cortez Masto is  America’s first Latina senator and  Adam Laxalt is  a former Nevada attorney general who aided in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.  Laxalt also has a New Mexico connection and is the son of former New Mexico Republican Senator Pete Domenici.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/12/politics/catherine-cortez-masto-nevada-senate

On November 11, CNN projected Democratic Senator  Mark Kelly of Arizona, who was elected in 2020 to fill the term of the late Republican  Senator  John McCain, has won reelection.  Kelly’s defeat of venture capitalist Blake Masters, who had echoed former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, marked yet another rejection by voters of a Trump-backed candidate who Democrats portrayed as an extremist.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/11/politics/mark-kelly-blake-masters-arizona-senate-results

GEORGIA SENATE RACE

The United States Senate race in Georgia has already been forced into a runoff between Democrat Incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican Hershel Walker with neither securing 50% plus one in the general election.  On November 8, Democrat Warnock secured 49.4% of the vote (1,941,515 votes)  Republican Walker secured 48.5% (1,906,261 votes) of the vote and Libertarian Chase Oliver secured 2.1% (81,179)  of the vote.  The runoff election is schedule for December 6, 2022.

CONTROL OF THE HOUSE INCHES CLOSE TO REPBUBLICAN CONTROL

As of November 13, control of the US House of Representative remains up in the air with 21 races still uncalled. Republicans are poised to secure a slim majority in the 435-seat House of Representatives. 218 seats are needed to control the House.  Democrats have won 203 seats thus far, while Republicans have won 211.  Many of the uncalled House races are in California.

TRUMP TO ANNOUNCE THIRD RUN FOR PRESIDENT ON NOV. 15

It has been reported that Donald Trump, 78, will announce on Tuesday November 15 that he is running for President a third time.   Trump has been hinting at running again at his rally’s saying he will make  “very big announcement” on November 15.

Jason Miller, a Trump longtimre advisor, told former Trump aide Steve Bannon on his “War Room” podcast:

“President Trump is going to announce on Tuesday that he is running for president. …   It’s gonna be a very professional, very buttoned-up announcement.”

Miller said Trump told him, “there doesn’t need to be any question, of course I am running.”

https://www.news18.com/news/world/trump-to-announce-2024-presidential-bid-on-nov-15-longtime-aide-miller-confirms-6365461.html

DER FÜHRER TRUMP BIGGEST LOSER IN MIDTERM ELECTION

On the national level, the biggest takeaway from the November 8 general election is that there was no Republican “red waive” as was being predicted and Der Führer Trump is being deemed  the biggest loser of the midterm  election.  Below are two news reports, followed by the links, found to be the best analysis of what happened on November 8.

HEADLINE:  Trump left ‘fuming’ after at least 14 of his candidates projected to lose in midterms: Sources “This is a sinking ship,” one top Trump adviser told ABC News.

By Katherine FauldersOlivia RubinJohn Santucci, and Will Steakin  (November 9, 2022)

“At least fourteen of Donald Trump’s handpicked candidates are projected to have lost their election bids, according to an ABC News count — results that have some Trump aides concerned as the former president prepares for a big announcement” regarding his potential 2024 presidential run.

Sources close to Trump described him as “fuming” at his Mar-a-Lago estate Tuesday night as GOP candidates he had backed started to lose or underperform.

In addition, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ strong performance in Trump’s adopted home state was a wakeup call for some Trump advisers, sources said. DeSantis, seen as a potential 2024 presidential rival for Trump, easily won reelection.

“This is a sinking ship,” one top Trump adviser told ABC News. “We’re not going to beat that.”

“This was the end of the Trump era and the dawn of the DeSantis era,” a Republican operative close to the Trump orbit told ABC News. “Like every other Trump catastrophe, he did this to himself with stupid and reckless decisions.”

On his Truth Social account, Trump said Tuesday was a “GREAT EVENING.” His candidate for Senate in Ohio, J.D. Vance, was projected to have beaten Democrat Tim Ryan, and his Senate candidate in North Carolina, Ted Budd, was also projected to have won his race — with races in Arizona and Nevada yet to be called and control of the House and Senate still to be determined.

But some of Trump’s most high-profile candidates saw losses in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Trump was particularly unhappy as he watched two candidates he endorsed in Pennsylvania — Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz and gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano — lose their elections. Trump had been in the state rallying for both candidates just three days earlier.

“We have tens of thousands of people here,” Trump told the Pennsylvania crowd at a rally Saturday. “If these people vote for you, Doug, and if they vote for you, Oz, you can’t lose. We can’t lose.”

In an email blast touting “unprecedented successes” that was sent out before any races had been called, Trump boasted that his political action committee had spent “$3.4 million opposing [Oz opponent] John Fetterman in Pennsylvania.”

But a day later, sources say Trump has been angry with his wife, Melania, and Fox News host Sean Hannity, for pushing Trump to endorse Oz. The former president is also blaming aides for misguiding him on some of his other endorsements.

Trump told advisers Tuesday night that he was also shocked that the Georgia race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and GOP challenger Herschel Walker was too close to call, per sources. On Wednesday, ABC News reported that neither candidate will receive more than 50% of the vote, sending the race to a runoff on Dec. 6.

As the results came in, the phones of Trump’s top political aides began ringing off the hook — and by the end of the night only a handful of aides remained around him, sources told ABC News.

As the night progressed, Trump told top aides he wasn’t particularly interested in addressing the crowd he had gathered there, although he did end up speaking for a few minutes, telling the crowd that the numbers were “amazing” so far.

Trump announced on Monday that he planned to make a “big announcement” next week about plans for his 2024 presidential run. Some close to Trump told ABC News they hope the vague nature of the statement could give him an escape hatch should he decide not to run.

But others who have spoken with Trump say he’s unlikely to renege on his plans because he’s spent the last two years teasing a run, official announcement or not.

“Hard to back out now,” one adviser said.

Trump adviser Jason Miller told Newsmax on Wednesday that he was hoping Trump would delay his announcement until after the Dec. 6 Georgia runoff, saying, “I am advising the president to hold off until after the Georgia race.”

Trump’s former press secretary, Fox News host Kayleigh McEnany, also said she believes Trump should wait until after the runoff to announce.

When asked if Trump should campaign for Walker in Georgia, McEnany said, “I think we’ve got to make strategic calculations. Gov. DeSantis, I think he should be welcome to the state, given what happened last night. You’ve got to look at the realities on the ground.”

The link to the full unedited news article is here:

https://abcnews.go.com/US/trump-left-fuming-14-candidates-projected-lose-midterms/story?id=92992662

HEADLINE: Candidates who backed overturning Trump loss are rebuffed

By NICHOLAS RICCARDI, November 9, 2022

“Republicans made a striking decision earlier this year to nominate candidates for top statewide posts in swing states who backed overturning President Donald Trump’s loss in 2020. Most of those candidates lost in the midterm election.

Doug Mastriano, who commissioned buses to take Pennsylvanians to the Jan. 6, 2021, protests in Washington failed in his bid to become that state’s governor. Kristina Karamo, a community college instructor who spread misinformation about voting on Twitter even on Election Day, was crushed by Michigan’s Democratic secretary of state.

Mathew DePerno, an attorney who filed a lawsuit spreading Trump’s election lies in Michigan in 2020, lost his bid to be that state’s attorney general. Audrey Trujillo, a political novice who cheered Trump’s defiance of the vote in 2020, was defeated for New Mexico secretary of state.

Two such races remained too close to call on Wednesday — Arizona and Nevada. And in more conservative states, from Indiana to Kansas, election conspiracy theorists still won key positions.

Many observers argued that the 2022 midterm election has shown that imperiling democracy is not politically successful.

“It turns out that trying to overturn an election is not wildly popular with the American people,” said Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster.

That even extends to Arizona, Ayres added, where a prominent former television newscaster-turned-election-conspiracy-theorist, Kari Lake, remains in a right race for governor against Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, whose campaign has been widely panned.

“The fact that it is close with a very polished, very good Republican candidate and a very weak, very unpolished Democratic candidate tells you how much of a weight election denial is on a Republican candidate,” Ayres said.

Lies and conspiracy theories about elections burrowed deeply into the 2022 Republican field, with nearly one-third of the party’s 85 candidates for governor, secretary of state and attorney general embracing Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 loss.

About half of those won — almost all of them incumbents, except for candidates such as Kris Kobach, a member of Trump’s 2016 voter fraud commission who won the race for attorney general in Kansas, and Chuck Gray, a Wyoming state representative who ran unopposed for secretary of state in that heavily Republican state.

More significant are the outcomes in the six states that clinched Joe Biden’s win in 2020 and where Trump and his allies disputed his loss.

In most of those states, as in most of the country, the secretary of state is the top election official while the governor and attorney general often play key roles in voting rules and certifying election results.

In Georgia, Trump unsuccessfully backed a slate of election conspiracy theorists in the GOP primary in May, seeking revenge against incumbent Republicans who rebuffed his requests to overturn his loss.

On Tuesday, Trump lost bids to install supporters in three more of those pivotal states. In Pennsylvania, Mastriano would have had the power to appoint a secretary of state to oversee voting, but he was routed in the governors race by Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro. In Wisconsin, Trump’s pick for governor, Tim Michels, lost to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, dooming Republican dreams of disbanding or significantly overhauling the state’s bipartisan election commission.

In Michigan, Karamo and DePerno had been key players in spreading misinformation about Trump’s loss in 2020. Along with Tudor Dixon, the party’s nominee for governor who repeated Trump’s election lies, they provided a drag on the GOP ticket that contributed to Democrats capturing full control of the statehouse for the first time in decades.

In two other competitive states — Minnesota and New Mexico — GOP candidates for secretary of state who echoed Trump’s election lies lost badly, performing worse than the top of their respective tickets.

“There are more of us pro-democracy Americans who are not Democrats — who look at the Republican Party and say ‘That is not for me’ — and that was borne out last night,” said Jeff  Timmers, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.

Nevada and Arizona will continue to test that idea as ballots are tallied in their close races for top statewide posts.

Nevada is where former state lawmaker Jim Marchant organized a coalition of election conspiracy theorists to run for voting posts nationwide as he himself ran for his state’s secretary of state position.

Democracy advocates were optimistic on Wednesday, especially as some Republicans conceded their losses without alleging mass fraud.

“We’re seeing a bit of a scramble for the right message” among election deniers online, said Emma Steiner, who monitors disinformation for Common Cause.

She said concessions from candidates including Dixon in Michigan and Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania make “it a little more difficult for election deniers to continue.”

But even as advocates celebrated, they kept a wary eye on Arizona and Nevada and acknowledged that Trump has inflicted grave damage on the trust in democracy that helps bind the country together.

“Without a doubt, election denial is alive and well, and this is a continuing threat,” said Joanna Lydgate of States United, which has sought to publicize the danger of election conspiracy theorists. But she took solace in Tuesday’s results.

“It was a really good night for democracy,” Lydgate said.

The link to the full unedited news article is here:

https://apnews.com/article/2022-midterm-elections-donald-trump-race-and-ethnicity-e825e069640f1c89063210c39cd92ae4

CNN POLITCAL ANALYST JULIAN ZELIZER 

CNN Political Analyst Julian Zelizer summed up the state election results as follows:

Democrats performed exceptionally well by historical standards on Tuesday and Biden walks away having fared better than any other President in his first midterm since George W. Bush in 2002. “It was a good day for democracy” [ President Biden] declared on Wednesday.

Democrats did extremely well in states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania. Many of the election deniers running for secretary of state or governor lost. Even in states where Democrats were walloped, such as in New York, there were bright spots, including Gov. Kathy Hochul’s victory over the Trump-endorsed Republican Lee Zeldin.

The outcome was a surprise to both parties. Since World War II, the party of the president has typically performed poorly in the first midterm of an administration, with an average loss of 26 seats in the House and four seats in the Senate. Under former President Donald Trump, Republicans lost 40 seats in the House in 2018. Democrats lost 63 in the House in 2010 under Barack Obama, and 52 in 1994 under Bill Clinton.

When presidential approval ratings fall to where President Biden’s numbers have been – between the high-30s and mid-40s this year – that normally spells massive defeat. See, for examples, Donald Trump (38%) in 2018, Obama (46%) in 2010, Bill Clinton (41%) in 1994. Besides Biden’s low approval rates, high inflation, turbulent financial markets, and other issues that have favored Republicans – such as concerns about crime – loomed large in most polls.

Yet the red wave so many anticipated didn’t happen. Votes are still being counted in key states and districts, but even if Republicans end up with control of one or both chambers, their majority will be extremely narrow. It’s safe to say Democrats will not face the “shellacking” they experienced in 2010.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/10/opinions/biden-midterms-underestimated-zelizer/index.html

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

There is absolutely no doubt that Democrats essentially dodge a bullet on November 8 by outperforming what national pundits were predicting which was a “red wave” and a complete and total retake of both the US House and US Senate chambers. Five days after the election, there is  no decision who actually controls the United State House of Representatives.  The likely final result is the United States House will be controlled by the Republicans with a 5 to 7 majority and the Senate will now  be  controlled by the Democrats with both chambers controlled by the slimmest majority.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN THE CLEAREST WINNER OF MIDTERMS

President Biden, despite having a 44% approval rating, emerged the clear victor having bested his predecessors Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump with his party not taking a shellacking and not losing 40 to 60 US House seats as was what the national pundits had predicted. Inflation, high gas and high food prices, spiking high housing and rental prices, spiking crime rates, the border crisis and Joe Biden’s low approval ratings ultimately did matter to voters. Biden may have low approval ratings, but that did not carry over  to Democrats running for office.  Democrat Congressional candidates not only campaigned on the Biden agenda but also  saying our democracy was at stake as was a woman’s right to an abortion.  Republicans campaigned denying that the 2020 election was stolen and then attempted to pivot on crime and the economy after the Supreme Court decision striking down a woman’s right to an abortion.  What did matter to voters above all else was preserving our democracy. In the final analysis, voters decided that our democracy was far more important than their “pocket books” and more important than one man who feels he is above the law.

“TRUMPTY DUMPTY” HAD A GREAT FALL

Trump is known for coming up with nick names for his opponents. He has called Hillary Clinton Crooked Hllary”, Barrack Obama “Cheatin Obama”, Joe Biden “Sleepy Joe”, Republican Jeb Bush “Low Energy Jeb”, Democrat Senator Richard Durbin “Dicky Durbin, Democrat Congressman Adam Schiff “Shiffty Schiff”, Democrat Representative Maxine Walters “Crazy Maxine”,  Republican Senator Ted Cruz “Lyin Ted”, Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” ,  Republican Senator Mitch McConnell “Disloyal Sleaze Bag”, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez  “Evita” or “Eva Perron” ,  Democrat Speaker of the House  Nancy Pelosi “Nervous Nancy”, Republican Senator Marco Rubio “Little Marco”, Independent Bernie Sanders “The Nutty Professor” just to mention a few. Trump has already come up with a nick name for Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis calling him “De Sanctimonious”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nicknames_used_by_Donald_Trump

The New York Post has finally come up with a nickname for Trump that fits like a glove and should be used. The New York Post lampooned Trump with a front page character of a bloated Trump sitting on a wall calling him “Trumpty Dumpty” with the lyrics “Don (who couldn’t build a wall) had a great fall –Can all the GOP’s men put the party back together again?”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nicknames_used_by_Donald_Trump

Trumpty Dumpty” was clearest loser in the 2022 midterms with so many of his handpicked candidates losing and who were election deniers. Candidates for President usually announce long after midterm elections.  Trump’s November 15 announcement is more likely than not designed to fend off likely federal  criminal charges over taking top secret documents from the White House to his Mar-a-Lago home, charges stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the attack on the US Capitol by his supporters on January 6, 2021, and other criminal investigations in the states of Georgia for election interference and the criminal investigations by the state of New York on the Trump financial empire.

Republicans are again at yet  another crossroad with “Trumpty Dumpty”, and there have been many times when the Republican Party and its congressional leaders could have cut ties with him. Simply put, the party and its elected officials are  spineless and afraid to offend his base which is  a political cult and that wants to see the country burn in flames.   First, there was Trump’s  loss in 2020, then his two impeachments, then the loss of both the Senate and House, and now the loses by his his handpicked candidates in 2022.  Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Ron who won reelection by a landslide,  has now emerged as the biggest threat to Trump. The Republican party  needs to decide if it wants to continue to pledge their  loyalty and support to a self-center fascist hell bent on destroying our Democracy or to move on and away from Trump.

With any luck, Der Führer Trump will be indicted, tried and convicted and be finally brought to justice for his attempt to overthrow our government on January 6 or absconding with  some of the countries most highly secret documents and hoarding them at Mar-a-Lago.  No one is above the law, and Trump belongs in prison, not  in the White House for another 4 years where absolute chaos was the norm on a daily basis.

Der Führer Trump Was Biggest Loser On November 8 As Handpicked  Election Deniers Lose; News Updates:  Dem Senator Mark Kelly Wins Reelection In Arizona; Trump To Announce Third Run For President On November 15

On the national level, the biggest takeaway from the November 8 general election is that there was no Republican “red waive” as was being predicted  and Der Führer Trump was the biggest loser of the midterm  election.  Below are two news reports, followed by the links, found to be the best analysis of what happened on November 8.

HEADLINE:  Trump left ‘fuming’ after at least 14 of his candidates projected to lose in midterms: Sources “This is a sinking ship,” one top Trump adviser told ABC News.

By Katherine FauldersOlivia RubinJohn Santucci, and Will Steakin  (November 9, 2022)

“At least fourteen of Donald Trump’s handpicked candidates are projected to have lost their election bids, according to an ABC News count — results that have some Trump aides concerned as the former president prepares for a big announcement” regarding his potential 2024 presidential run.

Sources close to Trump described him as “fuming” at his Mar-a-Lago estate Tuesday night as GOP candidates he had backed started to lose or underperform.

In addition, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ strong performance in Trump’s adopted home state was a wakeup call for some Trump advisers, sources said. DeSantis, seen as a potential 2024 presidential rival for Trump, easily won reelection.

“This is a sinking ship,” one top Trump adviser told ABC News. “We’re not going to beat that.”

“This was the end of the Trump era and the dawn of the DeSantis era,” a Republican operative close to the Trump orbit told ABC News. “Like every other Trump catastrophe, he did this to himself with stupid and reckless decisions.”

On his Truth Social account, Trump said Tuesday was a “GREAT EVENING.” His candidate for Senate in Ohio, J.D. Vance, was projected to have beaten Democrat Tim Ryan, and his Senate candidate in North Carolina, Ted Budd, was also projected to have won his race — with races in Arizona and Nevada yet to be called and control of the House and Senate still to be determined.

But some of Trump’s most high-profile candidates saw losses in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Trump was particularly unhappy as he watched two candidates he endorsed in Pennsylvania — Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz and gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano — lose their elections. Trump had been in the state rallying for both candidates just three days earlier.

“We have tens of thousands of people here,” Trump told the Pennsylvania crowd at a rally Saturday. “If these people vote for you, Doug, and if they vote for you, Oz, you can’t lose. We can’t lose.”

In an email blast touting “unprecedented successes” that was sent out before any races had been called, Trump boasted that his political action committee had spent “$3.4 million opposing [Oz opponent] John Fetterman in Pennsylvania.”

But a day later, sources say Trump has been angry with his wife, Melania, and Fox News host Sean Hannity, for pushing Trump to endorse Oz. The former president is also blaming aides for misguiding him on some of his other endorsements.

Trump told advisers Tuesday night that he was also shocked that the Georgia race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and GOP challenger Herschel Walker was too close to call, per sources. On Wednesday, ABC News reported that neither candidate will receive more than 50% of the vote, sending the race to a runoff on Dec. 6.

As the results came in, the phones of Trump’s top political aides began ringing off the hook — and by the end of the night only a handful of aides remained around him, sources told ABC News.

As the night progressed, Trump told top aides he wasn’t particularly interested in addressing the crowd he had gathered there, although he did end up speaking for a few minutes, telling the crowd that the numbers were “amazing” so far.

Trump announced on Monday that he planned to make a “big announcement” next week about plans for his 2024 presidential run. Some close to Trump told ABC News they hope the vague nature of the statement could give him an escape hatch should he decide not to run.

But others who have spoken with Trump say he’s unlikely to renege on his plans because he’s spent the last two years teasing a run, official announcement or not.

“Hard to back out now,” one adviser said.

Trump adviser Jason Miller told Newsmax on Wednesday that he was hoping Trump would delay his announcement until after the Dec. 6 Georgia runoff, saying, “I am advising the president to hold off until after the Georgia race.”

Trump’s former press secretary, Fox News host Kayleigh McEnany, also said she believes Trump should wait until after the runoff to announce.

When asked if Trump should campaign for Walker in Georgia, McEnany said, “I think we’ve got to make strategic calculations. Gov. DeSantis, I think he should be welcome to the state, given what happened last night. You’ve got to look at the realities on the ground.”

The link to the full unedited news article is here:

https://abcnews.go.com/US/trump-left-fuming-14-candidates-projected-lose-midterms/story?id=92992662

HEADLINE: Candidates who backed overturning Trump loss are rebuffed

By NICHOLAS RICCARDI, November 9, 2022

“Republicans made a striking decision earlier this year to nominate candidates for top statewide posts in swing states who backed overturning President Donald Trump’s loss in 2020. Most of those candidates lost in the midterm election.

Doug Mastriano, who commissioned buses to take Pennsylvanians to the Jan. 6, 2021, protests in Washington failed in his bid to become that state’s governor. Kristina Karamo, a community college instructor who spread misinformation about voting on Twitter even on Election Day, was crushed by Michigan’s Democratic secretary of state.

Mathew DePerno, an attorney who filed a lawsuit spreading Trump’s election lies in Michigan in 2020, lost his bid to be that state’s attorney general. Audrey Trujillo, a political novice who cheered Trump’s defiance of the vote in 2020, was defeated for New Mexico secretary of state.

Two such races remained too close to call on Wednesday — Arizona and Nevada. And in more conservative states, from Indiana to Kansas, election conspiracy theorists still won key positions.

Many observers argued that the 2022 midterm election has shown that imperiling democracy is not politically successful.

“It turns out that trying to overturn an election is not wildly popular with the American people,” said Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster.

That even extends to Arizona, Ayres added, where a prominent former television newscaster-turned-election-conspiracy-theorist, Kari Lake, remains in a right race for governor against Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, whose campaign has been widely panned.

“The fact that it is close with a very polished, very good Republican candidate and a very weak, very unpolished Democratic candidate tells you how much of a weight election denial is on a Republican candidate,” Ayres said.

Lies and conspiracy theories about elections burrowed deeply into the 2022 Republican field, with nearly one-third of the party’s 85 candidates for governor, secretary of state and attorney general embracing Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 loss.

About half of those won — almost all of them incumbents, except for candidates such as Kris Kobach, a member of Trump’s 2016 voter fraud commission who won the race for attorney general in Kansas, and Chuck Gray, a Wyoming state representative who ran unopposed for secretary of state in that heavily Republican state.

More significant are the outcomes in the six states that clinched Joe Biden’s win in 2020 and where Trump and his allies disputed his loss.

In most of those states, as in most of the country, the secretary of state is the top election official while the governor and attorney general often play key roles in voting rules and certifying election results.

In Georgia, Trump unsuccessfully backed a slate of election conspiracy theorists in the GOP primary in May, seeking revenge against incumbent Republicans who rebuffed his requests to overturn his loss.

On Tuesday, Trump lost bids to install supporters in three more of those pivotal states. In Pennsylvania, Mastriano would have had the power to appoint a secretary of state to oversee voting, but he was routed in the governors race by Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro. In Wisconsin, Trump’s pick for governor, Tim Michels, lost to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, dooming Republican dreams of disbanding or significantly overhauling the state’s bipartisan election commission.

In Michigan, Karamo and DePerno had been key players in spreading misinformation about Trump’s loss in 2020. Along with Tudor Dixon, the party’s nominee for governor who repeated Trump’s election lies, they provided a drag on the GOP ticket that contributed to Democrats capturing full control of the statehouse for the first time in decades.

In two other competitive states — Minnesota and New Mexico — GOP candidates for secretary of state who echoed Trump’s election lies lost badly, performing worse than the top of their respective tickets.

“There are more of us pro-democracy Americans who are not Democrats — who look at the Republican Party and say ‘That is not for me’ — and that was borne out last night,” said Jeff  Timmers, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.

Nevada and Arizona will continue to test that idea as ballots are tallied in their close races for top statewide posts.

Nevada is where former state lawmaker Jim Marchant organized a coalition of election conspiracy theorists to run for voting posts nationwide as he himself ran for his state’s secretary of state position.

Democracy advocates were optimistic on Wednesday, especially as some Republicans conceded their losses without alleging mass fraud.

“We’re seeing a bit of a scramble for the right message” among election deniers online, said Emma Steiner, who monitors disinformation for Common Cause.

She said concessions from candidates including Dixon in Michigan and Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania make “it a little more difficult for election deniers to continue.”

But even as advocates celebrated, they kept a wary eye on Arizona and Nevada and acknowledged that Trump has inflicted grave damage on the trust in democracy that helps bind the country together.

“Without a doubt, election denial is alive and well, and this is a continuing threat,” said Joanna Lydgate of States United, which has sought to publicize the danger of election conspiracy theorists. But she took solace in Tuesday’s results.

“It was a really good night for democracy,” Lydgate said.

The link to the full unedited news article is here:

https://apnews.com/article/2022-midterm-elections-donald-trump-race-and-ethnicity-e825e069640f1c89063210c39cd92ae4

NEWS UPDATES

DEMOCRAT SENATOR KELLY WINS RELECTION IN NEVADA

On November 11, CNN projected Democratic Senator  Mark Kelly of Arizona, who was elected in 2020 to fill the term of the late Republican  Senator  John McCain, has won  reelection.  Kelly’s defeat of venture capitalist Blake Masters, who had echoed former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, marked yet another rejection by voters of a Trump-backed candidate who Democrats portrayed as an extremist.

So far, Democrats will hold 49 seats in the Senate and Republicans will hold 49.  Democrats only need one more seat to clinch the majority in the Senate which will require Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie breaking vote. They could reach that critical 50-seat threshold if they are successful in Nevada, where Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is closing in on Republican Adam Laxalt, the state’s former attorney general who called the 2020 presidential election “rigged” and filed lawsuits on Trump’s behalf trying to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory in Nevada.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/11/politics/mark-kelly-blake-masters-arizona-senate-results

CONTROL OF THE HOUSE INCHES CLOSE TO REPBUBLICAN CONTROL

Republicans are poised to secure a slim majority in the 435-seat House of Representatives.  As of November 12, control of the US House of Representative remains up in the air with 21 races still uncalled. 218 seats are needed to control the House.  Democrats have won 203 seats so far, while Republicans have won 211.  Many of the uncalled House races are in California.

CONTROL OF THE SENATE INCHES CLOSE TO DEMOCRAT CONTROL

As of November 12, the United States Senate is split evenly with 49 Democrats and 49 Republicans and control of the Senate remains undecided. There are two Senate races  that remain to be decided, one in Nevada and the other in Georgia.

NEVADA SENATE RACE

As of November 12, Republican Adam Laxalt is holding onto a slim lead of just more than 800 votes over Democratic incumbent Senator  Catherine Cortez Masto.  If Cortez Masto wins, Democrats have at least 50 seats needed regardless of the outcome of the Georgia Senate runoff. If Laxalt wins, the Georgia run-off will determine Senate control, as it did in 2021.

GEORGIA SENATE RACE

The United States Senate race has already been force into a runoff between Democrat Incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican Hershel Walker with neither securing 50% plus one in the general election.  On November 8,  Democrat Warnock secured 49.4% of the vote (1,941,515 votes)  Republican Walker secured 48.5% (1,906,261 votes) of the vote and Libertarian Chase Oliver secured 2.1% (81,179)  of the vote.  The runoff election is schedule for December 6, 2022.

TRUMP TO ANNOUNCE THIRD RUN FOR PRESIDENT ON NOV. 15

It has been reported that Donald Trump, 78, will announce on Tuesday November 15 that he is running for President a third time.   Trump has been hinting at running again at his rally’s saying he will make  “very big announcement” on November 15.

Jason Miller, a Trump longtimre advisor, told former Trump aide Steve Bannon on his “War Room” podcast:

“President Trump is going to announce on Tuesday that he is running for president. …   It’s gonna be a very professional, very buttoned-up announcement.”

Miller said Trump told him, “there doesn’t need to be any question, of course I am running.”

https://www.news18.com/news/world/trump-to-announce-2024-presidential-bid-on-nov-15-longtime-aide-miller-confirms-6365461.html

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

There is absolutely no doubt that Democrats essentially dodge a bullet on November 8 by outperforming what national pundits were predicting which was a “red wave” and a complete and total retake of both the House and Senate chambers. Four days after the election, there is still no decision who actually controls either chamber.  The likely final result is the House will be controlled by the Republicans and the Senate will be controlled by the Democrats with the both controlled by the slimmest majority’s.  President Biden, despite having a 44% approval rating, emerged the victor having bested his predecessors Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump with is party not taking shellacking and not losing 40 to 60 US House seats.

Der Führer Trump was the clearest loser in the 2022 midterms with so many of his handpicked candidates losing and who were election deniers. Campaigns for President are usually announced long after mid term elections. Der Führer Trump’s announcement one week after the 2022 midterms is more likely than not designed to fend off likely criminal charges over taking top secret documents from the White House, charges stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the attack on the US Capitol by his supporters on January 6, 202, and other criminal investigations in the state of  Georgia for election interference and the criminal investigations in the state of New York on the Trump organization.  Trump also  likely wants to undercut Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who won reelection by a landslide, and who has now emerged as the biggest threat to Trump.

 

2022 Veterans Day Dinelli Family Tribute

Each Veterans day, I am compelled to pay tribute to members of my family who have given so much and sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms and to protect this great country of ours. All these family members were born and lived in New Mexico, two were born in Chacon, New Mexico and the rest raised and educated in Albuquerque.

One gave the ultimate sacrifice during time of war.

My father Paul Dinelli and my Uncle Pete Dinelli, for whom I was named after, both served in the US Army during World War II when the United States went to war with Italy, Germany and Japan. The United State was at war with Italy during World War II. My father and uncle were first generation born Americans and the sons of Italian immigrants who settled in Albuquerque in the year 1900 to live the American dream. My Uncle Pete Dinelli was killed in action when he stepped on a land mine. My father Paul Dinelli was a disabled American Veteran when he returned to Albuquerque after World War II.

My uncles Fred Fresques and Alex Fresques, my mother’s two brothers, also saw extensive combat in World War II. My Uncle Alex Freques served in England and was in the Air Force. My uncle Fred Fresques saw extensive action in the US Army infantry to the point that he refused to talk about what he saw to anyone. My Uncle Fred was awarded 3 bronze stars and the purple heart for his war time service.

After the war, Uncle Fred returned to Albuquerque and raised his family in Barelas. Over many years, my Uncle Fred was active in the Barelas Community Center and was a trainer for the “Golden Gloves” competition teaching young adults the sport of boxing.

My father in law, George W. Case, who passed away in 2015  at the age 93, served in the United States Navy during World War II and saw action while serving on a destroyer. My father in law George Case was so proud of his service that he wore a World War II Veterans cap every day the last few years of his life. After the war, my father in law George Case returned to Albuquerque was married to my mother in law Laurel Del Castillo for 50 years, raised a family of 4 girls. George eventually owned a liquor store for a few years and then went on to build, own and operate the Old Town Car wash and was in the car wash industry for a number of years.

My nephew Dante Dinelli, was born and raised in Albuquerque and joined the service a few years after graduating from Cibola High School. Dante served 20 + years in the US Navy, retired as a Chief Petty Officer and to this day still works in a civilian capacity for the Navy.

My two nephews, Matthew Barnes and Brandon Barnes, the sons of my younger sister, Pauline and my brother in law Marvin, who is a retired APD Police officer, were born and raised in Albuquerque and went to Bosque Prep. Both Mathew and Brandon are Majors in the United States Marine Corps and both are climbing the promotion ladder in the Marine Corps. My nephew Major Brandon Barnes is a graduate of the US Naval Academy. My nephew Major Matthew Barnes graduated from UNM with honors and served a tour in Afghanistan.

To all the wonderful and courageous men and women who have served and continue to serve our country to protect and secure the promise of freedom and the ideals upon which the United States was founded upon, and to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, I thank you for your service to our Country.

Your service and sacrifices will never be forgotten. God bless you all and God Bless the United States and all of our freedoms you fought for to protect this great democracy.